Monthly Archives: June 2011

I Swear That Somewhere In Paradise

THERE’S A PRACTICAL joker with a low idea of funny, sitting at a bi-i-i-i-g control board — like the biggest, fanciest mixing board you ever saw. Infinite channels. And his idea of a good day’s work is to periodically tweak a control on that board and send down some minor annoyance to me, to see how well my state of grace is holding up.

Getting some rest? Taking a nap? Ring his phone. Feeling too good about his work? Make his car overheat. Getting too cocky about the state of his affairs? Give him an anxiety attack he can’t tell from a heart attack.

And he sits back and observes me. Sees with how much grace and equanimity I accept these little outrages.

Today… not so much.

Sorry. Got Nothing.

HAD TWO POSTS but they both sucked, so I deleted ’em. Will try again tomorrow.

OK. Kitten stuff.

Chester (I keep hearing the name Chester the Molester. Where is that from? M*A*S*H? Do I hear Donald Sutherland saying it?) has this really cute trick of, when you walk into a room, or through the front door, he runs up, pounces on your foot, and wraps his arms around your leg. Variation A is then he bounces away and dances around you like Ali — “Float like a butterfly.”

Jane has the smallest itty-bitty mew I think I’ve ever heard from a kitten. Almost like she’s miming mewing without actually saying anything, except she is. Saying something. A very indoors voice.

Earnest has got to be the gassiest kitten I’ve ever known. He climbs up on the arm of the couch. *>>poot<<* He climbs onto my chest. *>>poot<<* I wave my hand in front of my face and dump him onto the couch next to me. "Earnie! You stink!"


Dunno what to make of that. He gets the same diet as everybody else. Maybe he needs a little cheese to stiffen his bowel. Or something. I dunno.

That’s right, folks. You heard it here first. Kitten crapblogging. Well, fartblogging.

Karma has discovered that there’s pets to be had. For months, now, she can’t be bothered to pay me any attention. She’ll run up into my lap, get two strokes, and then she’s off. But curl up on my chest? Puh-LEASE! That’s for babies.

But now that there are three kittens getting pretty much wall-to-wall pets and scritches, and sleeping on Daddy, she wants to get her some, too. This morning, I was getting dressed, and she ::bbblerrp!:: up onto the dresser. (That’s the grunt-of-effort noise cats make when they leap UP onto something. ::bbblerrrpp!::) And she reaches out a forepaw and bats my arm. “Pet me, Daddy!” Just like that. And, of course, I gave her some pets, but not enough. As I left the bedroom, she reached around the door and tapped my arm again. When I stopped and looked back, she peeked around the door. “PPppplease?” Just like Roger Rabbit.

Who can say “No” to that? I axe ya!

Bird’s gone. Place is quiet. For a change. I hope that Ditto enjoys himself at the clinic. Toni thinks he will. Not missing him, yet.

And that’s the farm report from Casa d’Alger.

I Keep Try’n’ ‘a Tell Ya

YOU CAN BITCH ABOUT the TSA’s squeeze-titty, grabass, scare children, drop diapers, peeking-Tom faux security theater all you want.

And you’re right — it is ridiculous and the probability of al Quaeda’s attempting something serious on an airliner asymptotically approaches zero. They’ve moved on, and the next attack with a four-or-five-figure death toll will bear no resemblance except for that number to the 9/11 atrocities.

But that’s government: always fighting the last war. It’s noted for that.

Your bitching will. Not. Change. A. Thing.

The only thing you can do that will have ANY impact whatsoever is to refuse to play the game. Do not fly. Ever. Drive where you must go, teleconference where you must not. Let the TSA pat down the occupants of empty queues.

When the airlines feel the bite in their bottom lines, they will get the government to move. Until then, all your bitching does is annoy everybody.

Sitting in for Rush on Monday

MARK DAVIS SOUNDED to me to be being very much a political ecumenical — don’t scare the moderates. He said we need to persuade people to vote for a Republican for the first time in their lives.

I beg to demur.

What we need to do is persuade people who don’t see a dime’s worth of difference to trust the Republican party to run a candidate who sincerely espouses their values.

In this, I think Rush is right. Most people, regardless of how they may vote, live their own lives by conservative values. Those values are, after all, the majority viewpoint in the country. In fact, I believe there is only a very narrow sliver of a minority on the extreme Left wing who manage to influence the chattering classes and the self-selected ruling classes in a leftward direction. The overwhelming bulk of the rest of us are appalled at the profligate behavior of the govering class, find their rutting lack of a public or private moral compass disgusting, and their arrogance and condescension … well, off-putting.

Which includes a lot of people who have trusted Democrats for decades on the basis of their claims of compassion and may be slowly awakening to the manifestly un-compassionate nature of the Left’s public policy prescriptions.

People who, along with others who call themselves Independents because they cannot bring themselves to trust either party without reservation, but also tend toward live-and-let-live, toward fiscal prudence, and prefer private initiatives to state mandates, may vote for a strong, full-throated defender of liberty and the Constitution, where a go-along-to-get-along ecumenist looks to them a lot like more of the same.

Which brings me to the conclusion that delivering more of the same — more ecumenism, more soft-pedalling unpleasant truth, more watering down of the bedrock principles of the Republic’s founding — that stuff isn’t going to sell.

Which, to me, explains quite handily the rapid, wide, and deep success of the Tea Party. And leads me to believe — as I have stated many times — that political ecumenism is an electoral loser.

Cross-posted at Eternity Road.

In His Known Space Stories

LARRY NIVEN POSTULATED that, in encounters with alien species, it wouldn’t matter their actual intentions. The only sane and rational assumption — for the sake of the entire human race at the ad infinitum — would be that any unknown alien has hostile intent.

Failure to think this way could result in Earth’s being taken unaware by an invading species and humanity’s being wiped out. The neat catch phrase in conclusion is: Paranoia is a survival trait.

For some time, now, I’ve believed that there is a parallel to this in American politics, with statists taking the part of the invading species and individualists the resisting native humans.

Over ‘t Vanderleun’s this morning, in the Thinking Right, Gerard links to an item in the Brussels Journal. (Good luck with that link.) Which asks the decades-old question about leftists — stupid or venal?

While I agree with Gerard that the takeaway is that Obama’s operating from malice, it’s not — in my case — due to any specific cases, but from a general policy, formed years ago, that there is no good intent in what Democrats seek to do to America. The Left is formed ab initio in bad faith, is bent on evil deeds, and does not scruple at even murder to reach its ends. As such, there is no trusting it; there can be no benefit of the doubt; there can only be war — one hopes metaphorical, but one must be prepared to take it to the streets. (As unwelcome as that prospect may be.)

New Feature

BEEN DOING something like this for some time, so I might’s well make it an official Department. We’ll call it the: So Lemme Get This Straight Department.

First Entry:

Recent hire to the position of Superintendent of Police in the great city of Chicago, Illinois, Garry McCarthy (speaking after Father Pfleger — there’s a recommendation for you) asserts that the Second Amendment to the Constitution is of a piece with Jim Crow.

That Democrat attempts to keep freedmen from defending themselves against lynch mobs … What? Never happened?

If the man is that hung up on the historical bad treatment of blacks in America, why in the world is he working for a Democrat administration. After all, it was Democrats who fought tooth and nail against ending slavery in 1789. It was Democrats who fought tooth and nail against ending the slave trade in 1803. It was Democrats who fought tooth and nail to ensure that the new states in the West were slave states. It was Democrats who broke away from the Union and formed the Confederacy. It was Democrats who opposed Lincoln’s handling of the Civil War and earned the name Copperheads. It was Democrats who, after the war, fought every attempt at proper civil rights legislation, right down to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It was Democrats who were the police chiefs, the mayors, the sherrifs, the governors who fought against the civil rights movement of the ’50 and ’60s and had to have Republican President Eisenhower sic the National Guard on them to enforce basic human rights.

And it’s Democrats today who want to keep blacks on the white liberal guilt plantation and prevents them from gaining access to true prosperity through school vouchers, low taxes, minimal meddling in the operation of small businesses, and so-forth.

To repeat: If this guy is so hung up on the bad treatment of blacks in this country, Win The Future is he doing working for a Democrat administration?

So long as he keep retailing Democrat lies, well…

Quote of the Day

The Public Evisceration of Al Gore: “It is hard to think of any recent failure in international politics this comprehensive, this swift, this humiliating.”

You know, there’s a point there. Think of all the political atrocities practiced on the American people alone — not to mention the Russians, the Chinese, the Brits, all those poor bastards in Africa — by all those nameless, faceless tumblefuck politicians from decades passed, all of whom died before the depth, length, and breadth of their perfidy became evident.

The list is long and distinguished, from Gladstone, Kitchener, and Disraeli to Johnson, Humphrey, and Kennedy.

And then there’s Al Gore, who flunked out of — not one, not two, but THREE — institutions of higher learning, who manages to bore even his wife, who has so far managed to be wrong or late to the party on every. Single. Solitary. Question. of public policy in the second half of the 20th Century. Joe Biden may be the stupidest man in the Senate, but Al Gore is tied for second with Barbara Boxer. If you wanted a poster boy for how wrong Progressives can be, Gore is your boy.

So it’s singularly delicious that his latter day pet peeve — Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (and all of the Texas Two-Step ramifications of the Big Lie) — is being so resoundingly and publicly bitch-slapped by such a distinguished collection of true experts on the subject. A debunker’s debunking.

Google Gets the Warning

“WE CAN DO TO YOU what we did for Microsoft, so be good boys and knuckle under to our extortionate attacks.”

Wonder how long capitalists will stand there and take it before one of them fights back.

I LIke This

ALL YOU ON THE RIGHT (albeit not in it for reasons that will become crystalline upon reading). And I kept trying to find a nut graph and couldn’t. The whole thing is too full of nutty, chocolatey goodness. RTWT.

But two points to key on are…

I’ve been increasingly dismayed over the last month or so my the number of times I hear people say “we’re not voting ourselves out of this”. It’s dismaying, because it’s a vote of no confidence in the Republic’s future, and that particular future leads to no place but ugly.


I’ll be rethinking my “Vote Them Out/All Of Them” stance. It’s imprecise, and not diagnostic of the problem. Reading back through it, I kind of feel stupid for issuing that particular fatwa. Be sure of your target, and what’s behind it …

(Emph mine.)

Very wise and insightful. You must go read and absorb this or be out of it.

That is all.

A Disingenuous Question

ASKED BY JOHN Hinderaker at PowerLine.

The Democrats have been blocking oil companies from developing America’s fossil fuel resources–the largest in the world–for decades. Whenever their anti-drilling policies are challenged, they assure us that increasing domestic production would do little or nothing to bring down the cost of energy.

Yet, whenever the price of gasoline becomes politically embarrassing, what do they do? They take “emergency” action to increase the supply of petroleum by opening up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve–some 700 million barrels of oil that are stored along the Gulf coast. Today the Obama administration announced that it will release 30 million gallons from the reserve in an effort to hold down prices.

No one pretends that this is the intended use of the strategic reserve–the administration is just trying to get past the Fourth of July without too much political fallout from gas prices–nor does anyone think that a one-time influx of oil will have any long-term impact on energy costs. Still, the administration’s action is revealing: if you want to keep prices down, what do you do? You increase supply.

That being the case, why has the Democratic Party done everything in its power for more than 30 years to suppress domestic production of oil?

It’s a question that almost answers itself.

You say, “Almost,” but you mean, “I’m going to answer it anyway.”

Why, Dolly! How ever did you guess?

I dunno. Just stupid, I guess.

Ha! AndagainIsay, “Ha!”

So what’s th’ answer, Perfesser?

Why, of course! The Left, seeking power like the infrared eye on a Maverick missile chasing the engine of a Saturn V rocket, wants to limit supply available through free market commercial supply in order that they may exercise control over prices through the mechanism of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The boundaries of their success are easily discerned.

There is a lesson to be derived from this, which is left as an exercise for the reader. Your answers in comments, please.

Bullet Points

WORTH PRESERVING concerning Sarah Palin.

  • The specifics of how entire communities and families were affected by the Exxon Valdez disaster is truly heartbreaking. This tragedy planted a seed that she would work for the ordinary people.
  • She is not afraid in making decisions that made/and still make some unhappy.
  • She was under fire since the day she took office yet she won re-election in a landslide with 75% of the vote for Mayor of Wasilla.
  • She stood up to the elected establishment and blew the whistle on her own party when she found some of them guilty of ethics violations.
  • The small Alaskan town Mayor ousted a 26 year veteran for Governor with over 50% of the vote.
  • Governor Sarah Palin put Alaskans first over party establishment and big oil.
  • She saw spending as “spending other people’s money” and continued fiscal prudence by going through the state budget line by line as Governor.
  • Her Governorship approval ratings were 88% in August of 2008. EIGHTY.
  • She was the spark of the McCain/Palin ticket. She is what ignited our base and still does today.
  • She fought the ethics violations filed against her for a year after the election loss in 2008, and while she paid for her own legal fees, she saw these complaints as hurting her state and its citizens so she chose to step down as Governor. Each and every accusation was proven false.
  • She has always spoken fondly of our country’s founding documents.
    Before any tea party. To me, she is the beginning of the Tea Party.
  • She has held her head high with class and strength as various news sources and websites posted daily vile commentary on her and her family.
    Just a couple short months ago, I witnessed a despicable post about her youngest, Trig. I am still and will always be a proud member of Trig’s Crew! Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing, as is choosing with whom you advertise.
  • Sarah Palin is a threat to the left and the right.

–Michelle Lancaster at Big Gov

Somebody Get on the Phone

AND GET THAT MAN a sainthood.

Artist Toby Gard, one of the people in charge of designing Lara Croft, was toying around with the dimensions of the character. When setting the dimensions of her chest, he slipped with his mouse and increased the boob area by a cartoonish 150 percent.

(A Dolly Flash of the Boob to:
Ghost of a Flea)

Note to Hannity

(AND ALL NATIONALLY syndicated talkers): liberals are a tune-out. That country music station is only one poke of a finger on the digital radio dial button away. Every time you let some whiney little titty-baby liberal on, it’s BOP! and I switch right over to Toby and Charlie and Reba. Every time you let radical racialists take over your airwaves … BOP! goes the radio button finger and we’re wafting on Tim and Faith and Sara.

If I wanted to listen to leftist crap, I’d tune in NPR. They have better production values.

So… keep up the good work!

Just thought you ought to know.

Huntsman Continues to Deliver

AN A-LEVEL COURSE in how not to win the GOP nom-nom-nomination.

So, you know that thing I said the other day about “No Republican can lose”? I take it back.

One Thing I Particularly Like

ABOUT THIS post by Robb Allen is the realization that the BATFE-I-E-I-O is that the organization itself is evil. Corrupt. Un- and anti-American. That the very existence of the agency flies in the face of a clear, black letter constitutional prohibition doesn’t seem to enter into the mind of its myrmidons.


I’m Sorry, But

THIS is unacceptable. FBI all involved in the chain of responsibility from the Supervisory Special Agent who oversaw the raiding party up to the Director of the FBI should be hung up by their gonads. They should personally be made to pay damages and be prosecuted under 18 USC 242. There is no excuse for this indiscriminate vandalism.

Smash mouth constitutionalism, folks. It’s the only answer, these days.

And Now, For Something Completely Different

I’M GOING TO FLOAT ONE OF MY “NOVEL” theories of law. Some background:

The theory of ordered liberty is founded (at least in part) in the notion of self-ownership. Unreasonable pomo idiots can argue the validity of the concept — and they have and will continue to witter on about it — but we here at BTB will consider it “settled law” that each and every individual human being in all of Creation owns himself, and that all of his rights stem from that self-ownership. This is enshrined in the phrases from the Declaration of Independence…

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights…”

Et-ceterrah, et ceterrah, et ceterrah.

It follows, therefore, that, under systems “instituted among men” to secure individual rights, certain rights extend from this — a sort of (if I may) penumbra of rights that logically inhere to the individual — the right to own property, including the produce of one’s labor, and to dispose of it as one sees fit; the right to self-defense and the defense of property and to own and utilize the means of that defense (i.e., the right to keep and bear arms); the right to privacy in the matter and effects of one’s business.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

So far, not terribly controversial — except in the fever swamps of the left’s chattering classes and the soi-disant ruling class. Here’s where we swerve into somewhat novel territory.

Please to take note of the First Amendment to the same Constitution — Number One, as it were, in the Bill of Rights. It begins, “Congress shall make no law,” and then goes on to describe such laws as Congress shall make none of.


Lemme repeat that a little more quietly: None of the other amendments carry this language.

Now, to me, this means that the First — and only the First — applies solely to Congress and no one else. And all of the persiflage about state or private infringements or abridgements of First Amendment rights means bupkis.

But, contrariwise, all of the arguments as to how the Second through Tenth Amendments place limits on the Federal government and only on the Federal government is just so much eyewash.

Now, before you react in a knee-jerk fashion, stop and think about this for a minute. We’re all originalists, here, right? We believe that what a law says is what it means, and that for what it says and means, the final authority must be them as writ it. Write? I mean: Right?

Of course it’s right. And it’s been so dispositively demonstrated for so long as to render any arguments to the contrary prima facie evidence of bad faith. So don’t even try. You do, Ima cut you off at the knees — rhetorically, of course.

And you should remember that Robert Peel, the father of modern policing (i.e., agents of the state as we think of them today) was born in 1788, while the Constitution was ratified that same year. The birth of the modern police state was decades away. (Although, it should be noted that Philadelphia — where the Constitutional Convention was held — had a city police force as early as 1751, but it appears not to have been “professionalized” until some time roughly contemporaneously with the London Metropolitan force foundend by Peel.)

Our Curmudgeon holds forth on this subject most eruditely and you should go and RTWT.

Therefore, one must accept that for the contemporaneous (contemporaneous to the Framing, that is) understanding of the security of rights to hold, restrictions on actions held to infringe or abridge must apply equally to private citizens as to public officials. For example, the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms inheres to the individual citizen, and no actor — public or private, at any level of government or business — may infringe upon it. Private property owners may bar armed persons from their property, except in the case of those operating public accomodations.

(Aside: See how the Left may be hoist on its own petard.)

But what’s this thing about a warrant?

Well, a warrant is nothing more or less than a legal document which permits a citizen to violate the rights of another citizen in straitly limited circumstances, ringed about with legal defenses to protect the rights of the innocent — which all citizens are to be assumed to be until proven otherwise in a court of law, and — as Our Curmudgeon observes — before a jury of their peers. (And isn’t the Left twisting itself in all kinds of knots to vitiate those defenses?)

Nowhere in there does it say that warrants can, may, or shall be issued exclusively into the hands of officials whose office the very existence of which, for the most part, had yet to be conceived.

Oh, come on, Alger! There were professional cops before Robert Peel!

Sure! There were the revenue agents (USCG founded 1790) and the Marshals (founded 1789). But there was also the militia. And volunteer watch. Before the foundation of professional police forces, much policing was done by volunteer private citizens. Nor is there anything in our constitution or common law that prevents this — a point which should be kept in mind when the police claim exclusive powers; they don’t have them.

And they are most certainly usurpatious when they unlawfully extend their powers, as Warren Meyer observes at Coyote Blog and as Glenn Reynolds catches the New York Times reporting. (Quelle surprise!)

Did you know that, despite the privacy act which forbids public or private entities from using your Social Security number as an identifier, if your SSN is not associated with an interest bearing account, the IRS can (and will) simply steal the taxes due from the account — regardless of whether you honestly report the income on your return — and you have NO recourse … because, of course, (and in compliance with the law), your SSN isn’t associated with the theft?


Did you know there was a Double Secret codicil to the Fourth and Fifth Amendment that those laws don’t apply to the IRS? Yes. It’s true. Those scofflaw tax rebel Founders put that in there so that the enforcers of an income tax (which they held to be an abomination) wouldn’t have to get warrants?

And here’s where I go off the rails.

I believe that banks who provide your banking information to the IRS are in violation of the Fourth Amendment and therefore of 18 USC 241. The banks, not the IRS. (Well, them, too, but the special thing is the one about the banks.)

A friend just sent around an email that he was closing his Facebook account, because of this business to business service which surfs and sifts social sites for information about people and keeps it on file. Me, I don’t care, because I’ve never said anything online that I, personally, am not prepared to own. My employer gets skittish, but only that I don’t represent my views as those of the company. No problem.


I hold that service violates the Fourth Amendment.

But that’s publically-exposed information!

So? Is there also a Double Secret codicil that says information exposed to public view is nevertheless not afforded privacy protection? Just who does this information belong to, anyway?

Whom. Whatever.

Whose “person, papers, and effects” are these things? Who holds property rights in them? And where in the Supreme Law of the Land does it say, “Except for…” in regard to this matter? Is it given to any random Tom, Dick, or Harry to traffic in it ad libitum, harum scarum, and willy-nilly? I think not.

If woman is raped, is she then considered to be sexually available to any random man who happens to encounter her? Of course not. So, if information about you is exposed publicly — whether by your choice or not — how is it right that it can be turned against you, especially in venues where you have no opportunity to face your accusers and mount a defense?

Legal theorists like to blather about how you can’t unring a bell. I call bullshit. You unring a bell by reaching out and grabbing it. Voila! No more ringing bell. Once damage is done, there is no moral justification to add insult to injury by allowing the outrage to continue. My response to outrages against privacy is that privacy must be absolute. Whether it is public or the most closely-held secret, information about a person inheres to that person, it is as much a part of him as his skin or his mind, and is as sacred. Use of it without his informed and explicit consent is to be forbidden without exception.

And the law must needs be amended to reflect that moral fact, or these contretemps about privacy and information will be never-ending.

This has gone on for too long. Kevin Baker — on break as he is — will laugh at me for running on this long. But I don’t intend to stop here. I have more to say on this subject, and it’s radical as hell. Watch this space.

Cross-posted at Eternity Road.

Quote of the Day

ANN ALTHOUSE wins the Internets.

Just. Shut. The. Fuck. Up.

Addressed to the smarmy and self-righteous New York Times, but also to all those on the Left, whose agenda is more about their desire to control other people’s lives, than about any real desire to do good.

Added Quite a Bit

TO THE OPENING SCENE of Armed Citizen. Three pages, as a matter of fact. Fleshed out that opening scene and cleaned up some of the choppier cuts between versions. We no longer have to have the scene exposited from two perspectives. The first version is still high tension and yet doesn’t leave anything out. Feels good.

Say good night, Gracie!

It Is To Laugh

HOW DID OBAMACARE GET SO SCREWED UP? Goes the headline. It is to laff.

Back when I did peer tech support on CompuServe, we had this cynical acronym for the times when the customers called something a bug and the engineers called it a feature. We said the program was Broken As Designed. B.A.D. (I coined that acronym, BTW.)

Obamacare isn’t screwed up. The Left has had seventy years and more to get socialized medicine right. If it’s not working exactly as designed, it’s just one more nail in the coffin of central planning. But I don’t think it is screwed up. I think it is fulfilling its purpose — to force the existing system to break down beyond repair, and to foreclose all alternatives to single-state-payer “health care.”

It’s not screwed up. It’s B.A.D.

Of Course, It Never Occurs

TO THOSE URGING political ecumenism on us — claiming all the while that full-throated defense of principle can/will/might alienate so-called “moderate” or “independent” voters…

It never occurs to them that perhaps they are the problem, that they alienate independents and “moderates.”

The middle of the road is no place for people of strong principle. All you find there are yellow stripes and roadkill.

He Was a Genius!

HIS RADICAL MOTHER wailed of her red diaper baby. “He had a 170 IQ.”

Pity the fool.

All the IQ shows is that he’s good at taking tests. Here’s a litmus test: if he can’t see through the collectivist bullshit, he can’t be all that bright.

This is true of all of the Left’s luminaries. The very fact that they espouse leftism irredeemably shifts them 100 points to the left on the scale. It only takes a below-average intelligence to fall for the failed pipe-dream brain fart nostrums of collectivism.

From Hillary Clinton to Adlai Stephenson to Hubert Humphrey to Barack Hussein Obama (Mm-mm-mm-mm-mm!) they’re all a pack of idiots. The evidence cannot be stronger than their personal beliefs as played out on the public stage.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

JON HUNTSMAN’S call for civility renders him irrelevant in the coming fight. He will soak up his requisite quart of ink, steal more than his fair share of oxygen, but at the end of the day, he is not up to the challenge he claims to want to face.

You heard it here about fifty-thousand-and-first.

Armed Citizen Cuts

CUT TEN PAGES of mostly exposition from the first scenes of the story. I’ve conceived of an angle of attack to the story that permits me a good deal faster pace, preserves an air of mystery while revealing important background in a bit less of an infodump fashion and more in a Heinlein fashion. And the gradual — call it need-to-know — provision to the reader of essential background notes will, I hope, heighten tension.

Meantime, the cutouts are preserved, in case I want to drop them back in — in heavily modified form — at a later date. I don’t see it happening, but you never know.



Loki, Chester (head hidden), Aqua, Jane, Jazz.

Very nearly all of the general, stiff-legged, overt and constant hostility is gone. Now it gets personal. Individual cats pick and choose favorites. Cliques form and reform. Favors are exchanged. Pairs will gang up on singletons. An outward, surface calm will obtain — most of the time. Every once in awhile — in the dark, pre-dawn hours, you’ll hear a hiss-and-growl of warning, and you’ll know you just heard the kitty version of a border incident. Boundaries have been encroached upon. Retaliation is contemplated. Sharp exchanges take place in out-of-the-way places.

And then, later on in the afternoon, everybody is one big, happy catpile on the bed. Like nothing ever happened.

Earnest seems to be the most needy of chest time. Sitting on the couch cuddles and strokes. If there appears to be and opportunity, he’s there, cute as a bug, purring. He complains a lot when Chester picks on him. I tell him that’s gonna happen if he runs with the big dogs. Er… cats, I mean. Chester has a pound-and-a-quarter on Earnie, so the little guy is either going to have to get REALLY scrappy, or he’s going to have to persuade one of the bigger cats to act as his protector. Guess which is more likely.

Jane’s fur is really soft. Like you’re supposed to imagine rabbit fur is, only more so. And kittens are always soft and fuzzy, but I wonder about Jane: how much less soft is her fur going to get as she grows older. Guess we’ll find out.

Welcome to Nazi Germany

HE RAVED, STANDING on a metaphorical bierstube table in front of a virtual Nuremberg rally of Purple Shirts.

That won’t have a negative effect on the populace at large.

And: if you still support these thugs… why?

The Caturday Post

AS A WRITING EXERCISE when I was a kid, Mom would have me describe things as though to an alien — to someone who’d never seen them and had no cultural referents to them. Describe a fork. You can’t use the word “tine.” Well, of course, you have to get around to the essential forkness of it — what it is when it’s at home, and how it’s used. What its niche is in our culture. Describe a room from the perspective of a cat. You can’t use the words that a human would use — window, wall, door, floor, inside, outside, as these are concepts the cat doesn’t have.

(Jane, who weighed 3# 11oz on Thursday, a gain of one pound, two, since she came to live with us.)

Or describe to an alien sophont — even a humanoid — the cultural habit of keeping cats as pets. There’s these small predators, see. They have sharp teeth and claws, and like to ambush their prey and play cruel, sadistic games with it. We think they’re cute.

Cute? the alien … doesn’t so much say as it conveys its meaning. We hear it in our auditory centers of our brains, but there are no vibrations in the air to go along with the sounds we perceive. Qu’est-çe que ç’est this… “cute”? (These aliens are very sophisticated; they speak French.)

(Chester, who weighed in at 3# 14 oz, also up one pound, two, since he came to live at Casa d’Alger.)

(Earnest is the runt, at 2″ 9oz, but still has gained 10 oz since we took him in.)

Earnest, seen here crouched atop Ditto’s cage. (Ditto is Toni’s office bird, a Senegalese parrot, who’s living here with us while the Animal Clinic is being painted and otherwise chemically treated with Stuffs That Give Birdies Asthma.) Earnie, as we call him, has picked up Loki’s knack for knowing when the camera’s going to flash and closing his eyes when it does. We’re going to have to shoot that boy in natural light.

There’s probably more, but right now, my eyelids have lost the oomph! in their lift springs, so I gotta gota bed. G’Night.

Morning… So I was thinking all this speaks-to-aliens stuff while Jane lay on my chest and chewed my fingertips. Yes. She chews my fingertips. For those of you non-cat people, this is not unusual in young kittens — it’s a nursing/teething behavior that takes them a while to grow out of. But can you imagine the horror of a total alien who has no acquaintance with cats other than verbal descriptions of them…? “These are small predators? Fast? Vicious? With sharp teeth and claws, and you LET them bite you? What kind of demented beings are you, anyway?”

And you explain to your friend from another world that, indeed, these are most gentle animals, that their predations are mostly play these days, as they are pampered house pets and don’t have to hunt for their food. Well, except for the feral ones — domestic ones that have gone wild. They have to fend for themselves or die.

“Oh, well, surely these are hunted and put down?”

No, not really. We catch them and adopt them.

“You people are really beyond understanding!” the alien exclaims, throwing up its hands-analog and stomps off in search of its favorite stimulant beverage.

My point? None. Does there have to be one? OK. Supply your own in comments, here or at Facebook.

Been Some Talk Recently About

THE REINS ACT which is supposed to rein in Federal regulatory agencies.

I hear that, if a regulation is going to have $100 million negative impact on the economy, then it has to go through Congress.

There’s a flaw in their thinking that anybody experience with government — observing it, serving in it, or suffering from it — should be able to spot a mile away.

The parameter.

Depending on the agenda of the agency wanting a regulation, the treatment of this requirement will be…

1) They’ll just outright lie about the impact. I mean, really. For a government that can’t get employment figures right, doesn’t actually know how much money it takes in or how much it spends, that regularly and with malice aforethought pegs the costs of programs at roughly 1/3 of the real cost until the bill passes, how tough can it be to tell Congress that the impact of a regulation will be $30 million until the results are in, then express surprise.

Headline: Unemployment Spikes Unexpectedly Above 10% for the Fourth Month in a Row.

Like you couldn’t see THAT coming.

2) Profess bafflement or the inability to predict the impact, but assert dead certitude that, without the regulation, the economy will fall flat in: ten, nine, eight, seven… Yeah. This is another species of outright lie, but it has that cute-puppy-just-shit-on-the-carpet-and-did-I-mention-cute appeal going for it. How can you hate a gormless bureaucrat who’s only trying to save your job, your house, your life savings? I mean: really!

See? You just fell for it just now, and I just told you how it works. In the same paragraph.

Do I really need to go on?

The other day, I wrote:

We really have to stop giving the Left the benefit of the doubt. By this time tomorrow, it will have been over a hundred years they’ve been trying this nonsense. It has all been thoroughly debunked and demystified. The consequences are known and cannot honestly be termed unanticipated. Ignorance of the laws of reality just can’t be taken for an excuse any more. And their claims as to their motives are unpersuasive and disingenuous at BEST.

In my darker moments, I’m beginning to think it’s not just the Left. It’s the Right, too. We just have to stop giving Washington the benefit of the doubt. We shouldn’t dogfight all around the sky, trying to maneuver for the missile shot. We should just “go to guns” right away*, assuming until and unless proven otherwise that they have ulterior motives.

No, the smarter move would be to admit in all honesty that A) Congress is the sole legislative body at the Federal level and may not (shall not) delegate its authority and B) it doesn’t have the authority to do any of this stuff anyway.

Good luck with that.

(*Metaphorically, of course. What!? You thought I meant it literally? Really? Are you THAT stupid? MUST be a liberal.)

Chuckle of the Day

You know who that’s good for? Mitt Romney. He’s the most generic Republican out there.

Glenn Reynolds

…referring to a Gallup poll that returns the result Generic Republican beats Obama like a red-headed drummer boy stepchild. By some margin you’ll never see in an election with Democrats counting the votes.

Of course, it could read, “Syphlitic Camel beats Obama et-ceterrah, et-ceterrah, et-ceterrah…*” because, what with Obamneycare and the Gaffe on Global Warming (Flash! Scientists predict mini ice age by 2020!), that Syphlitic Camel Glenn was talking about has about equal chances with Romney.

* A little The King and I lingo for ya there, (information provided for you cultural illiterates out there).

Quote of the Age

You aren’t going to get your way, let me just put it like that.

–Lyle at UltiMak, posting at Joe Huffman’s
directed at public “servants”

Puts me in mind of Heinlein’s quote:

In a mature society, “civil servant” is semantically equal to “civil master.

Pursuant to which, to quote Peter Pan:

I won’t grow up.

Passive Guy Links

TO A COLUMN / CHAPTER in Dean Wesley Smith’s Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing on the subject of rewriting. DWS takes off from Heinlein’s rules for freelancers:

1) You must write.
2) You must finish what you write.
3) You must not rewrite unless to editorial demand.
4) You must mail your work to someone who can buy it.
5) You must keep the work in the mail until someone buys it.

And types four ways you can work a draft after the first one.

So, to make sure we are all speaking the same language, let me define a few terms that Kristine Kathryn Rusch and I have used for a long time now, and I will try to use in this discussion.

REDRAFT: That’s when you take the typing you have done and toss it away, then write the story again from your memory of the idea. When you are redrafting, you are working from the creative side of your brain.

REWRITE: That’s when you go into a manuscript after it is finished in critical voice and start changing things, usually major things like plot points, character actions, style of sentences, and so on. When you rewrite like this, you are working from the critical side of your mind.

TOUCH-UP DRAFT: When you run through a manuscript fixing small things, things you wrote in notes while writing, things your trusted first reader found. Often very small things or typos. This draft takes almost no time, often less than a day for a full novel, sometimes only a few hours.

SPELL-CHECKING DRAFT: Since so many of us work with our grammar-checkers and spell-checkers off, we need a spell-check draft, often done before the manuscript is given to a first reader. This often takes a an hour or so for a full novel.

Now, I am not the one to take issue with a bunch of pros. And, God knows, I am guilty enough of the self-sabotage of polishing a turd forever. All of the stories of the Dolly Canon were originally conceived — even if they have not yet been drafted — in the period from 2000-2002. Still haven’t finished one yet.


How do you know when a draft is finished?

Wrong On One Point

RUSH LIMBAUGH INFAMOUSLY said at the time of the O’s immaculation that he hoped Obama failed — for the sake of the nation. Just Tuesday, Roger, the Real King of France, asserted that Obummer has failed.

I beg to disagree.

Not only has Obama’s Alinskyite, ACORN-ist, community-organizing destruction of the American economy succeeded, but it’s not over. Caught with its hand in the cookie jar, the Left is doubling down. They’re caught, but they’re not backing off. They’re gettingever meaner, ever more bold in their outrages, from eviscerating the Bill of Rights to attacking the underpinnings — the infrastructure, so to speak — of the economy not only of America, but of the world.

No. Not failed. Succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

Put that in your pipe and toke on it.

The Debates

TO HELL WITH the politicians. Can we get a new crop of journalists?

Ginger or Mary Ann! Sheesh!

Basic Fleshing Out

SOME SKINNY SPOTS in Scenes 4 and 5. The work to the latter adds 3 new pages of text, 750 words. We now stand at 146 pages.

I have this tendency to skip over stuff — either because I don’t think things through, or because I’m too impatient to do it right. My fingers get all jittery and excited and I just flat out miss stuff. I knew that! Or it seems obvious to me while I’m in the moment. You have to go through Point Z to get from A to D. So sometimes I have to go back and clear things up. I meant to do that!

Or I mess up the technique. Like… AC is in first-person singular perspective and in the present tense. “I say this, then I do this. I go here and I go there and do that.” It’s really intense to read, but it’s MONDO intense to write. And sometimes I fall out of it for pages at a time, and I have to go back and fix. And the fix is NEVER simple — a matter of changing “was” to “is” or “said” to “say.” There’s sentence structure that just doesn’t make SENSE when you transliterate it that way. And then there’s story concepts that don’t translate. So it can get hairy trying to reconnect stuff once you get all the verb tenses right.

But it’s fun anyway. And I got stuff done, so it’s all good.

This Blog Was Originally Intended

TO BE A PRODUCTION log and writing journal for me as I worked on the Dolly Canon. So I’m delighted to be turning it to that purpose finally.

Took a nap at five-ish and woke up a half-hour later with an Idea. Sat down at the computer and, in the next 90 minutes, churned out 11 pages. 2,750 words. A whole new scene, the start of the new Part 2 developments. Armed Citizen now stands at 143 pages.

Man! Does it feel good to be working again. And at a decent pace, too.

Day’s Work


Worked from Noon til two-thirty, from 5:00-6:15 or so then from 8:30 to 9:30 -ish.

Added interstices to start Part 2. Split final courtroom scene between Part 1 and Part2, pulled scene in courthouse rotunda into part 2, as well as the confrontation at the ECOA Admin building. Picked up prologue material from a wild fragment entitled “Dolly’s Perspective on the World,” altered it a bit to make it more relevant-seeming to what’s to come, added some foreshadowing.

New work: Part 2, Act IV, Scene 3. Following on to Flattery’s promise to treat Dolly and Drummond to lunch, he takes them (somewhere unspecified) and D&D ambush Flattery with an offer. He accepts. 4 pages of new material.

New work: Part 2, Act IV, Scene 4. In part the confrontation-at-the-admin-bldg scene, altered to suit the new plot. Four pages of old material, ten of new.

Total for the day: 14 pages of new material — 3,500 words.


JANEY IS ASLEEP CURLED up on my desk and Karma’s on the stool next to the desk. WinAmp just segued from Gordon Lightfoot’s “Did She Mention My Name?” to Neville Marriner conducting the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields orchestra in Mozart’s Cassation in B flat, KV 99/63a – Allegro molto and then to Mike Pinder’s “You’ll Make It Through.”

Armed Citizen has a Part Two, now, approximately 14 pages, with 8 of those being brand-spanking-new text — the rest being bits and pieces assembled from elsewhere in the story and from the shelves and drawers of… bits and pieces I have lying around.

Not bad for two hours. Let’s see what I can do between now and lunch.

Dear Glenn

AN OPEN LETTER TO Glenn Reynolds:


With regard to the article by Walter Russell Mead — When Government Jumps the Shark.

The one disagreement I have with Mead — indeed, with many on the right — is the insistence on comity, ecumenism, and even-handedness. Just because there exist two points of view does not make both of them equally valid. Or well-intentioned. The stated aim of the Progressive movement from the beginning was to bring about socialism — scientific rule by self-annointed elites. This has not changed in over a century. It inevitably means the destruction of Western Civilization. I can’t see an upside to that. It’s not an “unanticipated” consequence. It is, in current parlance, not a bug, but a feature. I keep referring back to the masthead quote on my blog — from Jesse Helms —

Compromise, hell! That’s what has happened to us all down the line – and that’s the very cause of our woes. If freedom is right and tyranny is wrong, why should those who believe in freedom treat it as if it were a roll of bologna to be bartered a slice at a time?

We really have to stop giving the Left the benefit of the doubt. By this time tomorrow, it will have been over a hundred years they’ve been trying this nonsense. It has all been thoroughly debunked and demystified. The consequences are known and cannot honestly be termed unanticipated. Ignorance of the laws of reality just can’t be taken for an excuse any more. And their claims as to their motives are unpersuasive and disingenuous at BEST.

This is a war. It is a war for the survival of civilization — indeed, of the human race — and the enemy are among us. No quarter!

Warmest regards,
Mark Alger

Esprit d’escalier — by the same token, Fox’s “Fair and Balanced” slogan is a copout. Its apparent purpose is to give journalists cover for dereliction of their duty to report the truth. The Left lies, the Right responds, and Fox –scorn quotes — “bravely” reports both, giving both equal weight. Not on. I can’t view Fox’s output as being any more value than that of the New York Times and of considerably less reliability than the openly leftist UK Guardian.

Today Is My Birthday

I’M TURNING 57 Better get used to it.

I have no honey-dos, no errands to run, nothing to do but what I want to do.

And what I want to do is…

Sit at my desk all day and work on a novel?

Yeah. I’m THAT kind of crazy.

I’m hoping to get a lot of keyboard time in on Armed Citizen. Those among you familiar with the story as we left it two years ago will remember that my two principal gripes were that it’s too short, at 35,000 words, to be a proper novel, and that the climax is insufficiently dramatic — Dolly’s jeopardy being not very jeopard, if you know what I mean. You will be pleased to hear I have come up with a way to fix that. In essence, the three acts we have now will have two more added on, a Part 2, if you will, in which Dolly learns, at the end of her trial, It’s Not Over Yet, and we are introduced to the circumstances that will eventuall force her into the unwelcome role of Gabrielle Godslayer.

Watch this space.

I Really Can’t Fathom

WHY MITT ROMNEY hasn’t slunk back to whatever palace he issued forth from in hot faced shame and embarrassment. How can anybody who’s been so very wrong on so many things continue to think he has a prayer in the coming election is beyond me.

Um… Obama?

Um… My point?

I mean, look: he’s been wrong on…

Medical Insurance. He’s firmly in the socialized medicine camp. Won’t backpedal. Won’t admit he might have made a mistake. Says he doesn’t like what Obama’s doing, but misses the fact it’s none of the government’s business in the first place, and the solution isn’t more government, but less.

Global Warming. So thoroughly debunked, it leaves a vortex hanging in the air when it passes. So obviously a socialist red herring and stalking horse you wonder how any sane and intelligent individual…

Kenny, the restaurant’s on fire. I’ll call you back.

And now the whole green energy folly. The idiot just swallows bogus stats whole and vomits them forth as though they actually mean anything. So many people have debunked the “we should use energy on European levels” so thoroughly, I won’t do more. But I will point out that, really, people, we need to stop this wanting to be Europe. We LEFT Europe because the place stank so badly. Why in the WORLD would you want to go back?

Do I really need to go on?

Rush Is Right On CAGW Consensus

AS FAR AS HE GOES: because a bunch of scientists agree on a particular explanation for a given fact pattern does not ipso facto make that explanation true. Right. Correct. Dispositive.

But wait! There’s more!

Despite the claim of consensus, there is no such thing. Consensus does not mean “the majority agree.” It means “everybody agrees.” This is a phenomenon that almost never occurs. To claim such a thing without evidence of said consensus to back it up is witless. In fact, it is, in my not-so-very-humble opinion, prima facie evidence of bad faith — of intent to pollute the dialog with false data.

Not only do all scientists not agree on the necessary points of CAGW (that it be Catastrophic, Anthropogenic, Global, and Warming — none of which have been demonstrated), but there is some evidence that a majority of relevant scientists — meteorologists, astrophysicists, und so weiter — DISagree on the subject with the so-called consensus position.

For my part, I would argue that the very term consensus is a term of art of the extremist, radical, revolutionary left, and anyone using it in an attempt to persuade should be automatically viewed with skepticism, if not dismissed thereby out of hand.

All the Kewl Kidz

ARE ANSWERING Jennifer’s question, How did you become a gunny? and far be it from me to march to a different drummer…

You? Conformist! It is to laugh!

Stifle, Missy!


Lord, deliver me from this obstreperous girl-child!

That was yer daily sass. Want some ass? ::moons Alger::

::shakes head slowly:: Can we get back to the topic at hand?

::butter wouldn’t melt:: By all means!

You really are a piece of work!

A piece, alright. But I’m your work!

Please don’t remind me.

ANY. Waaayyy…

My answer: as much as I enjoy their company, their honesty, kindness, charity, their straight-arrow nature, I’m not a gunny.

That is, firearms aren’t my hobby. I don’t go to the range every weekend and shoot several hundred dollars’-worth of ammo at paper targets — or go hunting wild tin cans in some riverbed with a gravel backstop.

And, really, the notion of “gunny” is kinda-sorta alien to me. Do you identify yourself by a single tool in your toolbox? Are you a knifey? A screwdriverie? A sawie? To me, “gunny” is a rank in the Marines — Gunnery Sergeant — three up, two down, right there between Staff Sergeant and Master Sergeant.

A firearms enthusiast, maybe. But not so damned shaggy, as the ’60s-era joke went.

When I was a kid — the same nine-or-ten as in the fear of flying post below — I had this really neat toy rifle. It was by Mattel, I think, and was a merchandise tie-in to some TV western, though I don’t remember which one (they were legion in the early ’60s).

But its chief virtue was that it actually shot bullets. (!) Not real lead bullets, mind, but still … The rifle came with six or seven heavy brass cartridges that had springs set in them. The bullets were gray plastic things with snap tabs on the sides. You’d push the bullet into a cartridge, load it in the gun, cock it, and pull the trigger. And that gray plastic slug would go downrange, powered by that spring in the cartridge, toward whatever a young lad pointed it at. Miniature soldiers. Matchbox cars. My Black Watch regimental band set of twenty-four (give or take) pipers. And drummers.

When I first came under the influence of the Colonel (who, if I haven’t mentioned it, was my stepfather), he was at some pains to make observations about this toy. First, he made no bones about how it WAS a toy, but nevertheless, I was in violation of several firearms protocols. And I started learning the Four Rules.

The first sort of tickle of mental disonnance — the kind that signifies you’ve learned a major cosmic concept — was the one about “A gun is always loaded.” Note that the rule, as taught to me was NOT, “Treat a gun at all times as though it were loaded,” the subjunctive allowing far too much wiggle room for weaselling a rule that — for all good sense — MUST be absolute. No. Only “A gun is always loaded” will suffice. On further, more adult consideration, the reasons for this become clear. One must have that automatic reflex trained into one, for the sake of the safety not only of one’s self, but — more importantly — that of those around one.

The second tickle was the massive responsibility that comes with having a firearm in one’s hands. Once that first rule penetrated, the chuckles over the disonnance died away, and the lesson was absorbed, there were further lessons: “Never point the gun at anything you don’t intend to kill”; “Never point the gun at something you cannot positively identify”; “Make sure of your backstop — know where your round is going to go downrange and DO NOT FIRE if you have any doubts”.

(Funnily enough, I don’t recall being taught — as a matter of catechism — the “keep your booger hook off the bang switch,” although I do remember getting Gibbs-slapped any number of times for curling my trigger finger through the guard before I was really ready to shoot, so the lesson was there, even if the rule wasn’t a part of the textual protocol.)

At the time, we lived in an urban neighborhood. This was before Kennedy’s assassination, mind, and the civil rights struggle had not yet ignited America’s inner cities. Attitudes about guns were light years distant from even a couple of years later.

Our back yard was opposed on the other side of the property line by the cinderblock wall of a clothing factory. The yard was about fifty feet wide and the houses were easily thirty feet apart. In other words, the neighborhood was fairly open, even for a city hood of the time. There was a locust tree in the back yard and a modified A-frame tool shed Aunt Chris had designed and built. And there was a wood pile that was there to feed the back yard fire pit, which was a center of family and social life.

And we had rats in that wood pile. Big gray Norway rats, mean and unafraid.

So, evenings in warm weather, the Colonel would sit upstairs in our second floor kitchen with a Colt Woodsman and a six-cell flashlight (that could illuminate the top of the Symmes Street Tower, two blocks to the south and (then) a thousand feet up), plinking at the rats. Just to put a little Fear of God into them, mind you.

He’d done the like as a boy in the woods of Webster County in Western Kentucky* where, as legend had it, he and his brother would “bark” squirrels with that Woodsman — hitting a tree branch just under the squirrel’s feet, stunning it out of its tree, so it could be taken and killed without harming pelt or meat.

Also in the back yard was a wheelbarrow. Your stock Sears wheelbarrow: pneumatic tire, steel body and tubular-steel handles with the rubber grips. One morning, I was taken down and shown the wheelbarrow, the rim of which had a new hole about a half-inch in diameter, with a neat curl of steel peeled back from the hole. A strike from a .22 long-rifle slug. The lesson: beware the awesome power of the gun. It sunk home. Obviously: I still remember it, now almost fifty years later.

Another observation the Colonel made was that I was firing the toy rifle left-handed, while I write and draw right-handed. Since then I have learned (or it has been learned by science in general — the timing isn’t obvious to me) that different individuals can be less “handed” than others, and that it’s not at all unusual for someone to write righty but shoot lefty. However, the point was made to me that most guns (then) favor righties and that I would be better served to become accustomed to shooting righty.

In aid of which, I was enrolled at the local YMCA for a summer program, which included marksmanship — shooting BB rifles in the Y’s basement.

(Strange how times have changed. Also at that time, the YWCA hosted the Cincinnati Fencing Club, of which the Colonel, Uncle Cliff, and assorted others among family friends were members. Not any more. The Y’s having been infiltrated by commies and perverted to their socialist ends.)

Once I’d earned some stripes at shooting at the Y, I was gifted with a hand-me-down Winchester single-shot .22 LR rifle — called a “boy’s gun.” I recall that there were strict rules about when, where, and how it was to be fired, (which — being a boy — I disregarded upon occasion).

But even stronger rules involved such notions of property rights, parental privacy and primacy, and the threat of lethal or near-lethal punishment were The Rules to be violated.

Except for that single-shot, the guns were kept in the parents’ bedroom. There was an 8mm Mauser, a Springfield A3 ’03, assorted 1911’s in .38 and .45 calibre, all manner of ammunition, and occasionally guests such as shotguns and borrowed rifles.

And that Woodsman — which my young boy’s mind saw as just the Coolest Gun Ever, with it’s 7″ barrel, rifle sights, forward-leaning grace and elegance. Even then it was a collectible — dating as it did back to the ’30s — but I didn’t know that.

I was familiarized with the weapons, and, as I got older, allowed to shoot them under carefully controlled conditions. But:

That bedroom was Off Limits to Children. Period. End of discussion. It was worth our lives to step across the threshold uninvited, and we were dead certain we’d get caught if we tried. That whole eyes-in-the-back-of-the-head thing.

The Bible says somewhere, when he is young, train a child into the way he is to grow, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. All my early training and discipline, revolving around firearms, was a major force that eventually made me into a property-respecting, rights-respecting libertarian.

But a gunny? No.

*Down by the Green River, where Paradise lay.

Under the Heading of

AND THIS BY YOU IS NEWS? this item from California by way of Seattle (Vanderleun).

California’s ultra-aggressive greenhouse gas laws will further the industrial exodus out of the state and further impoverish Californians.

Leftists love to pervert things — to turn them to purposes for which they were never intended or designed. Like trying to make an economy fit the watermelon fetish of zero emissions, energy use, or value. Like trying to get a car to run on fuels that won’t take it anywhere, or with a fuel economy which the laws of physics dictate will render it useless for most tasks people put cars to.

Pollution is a crime against property. Why, then, do all of the watermelon nostrums weaken private property rights?

It couldn’t be that the environment is really beside the point, could it?

I So Totally Get

SARAH’S FEAR of flying and why she feels it.

When I was a kid, The Colonel and Uncle Cliff engaged in this project. I had/have no idea what direct experience they had to lead them to believe they could pull it off. But Uncle Cliff and Aunt Chris (Mom’s older sister) had a rental property in a one of Cincinnati’s senior suburbs that had a big tree — ash? maple? I don’t really remember — in the verge between the sidewalk and the street*. It was threatening the property — a large Queen Anne house that had been split into four very nice apartments. They decided, rather than paying a tree service to remove it, that they would take it down themselves.

In my childhood distortion of the memory, it turned into a mammoth project that stretched out for years. That’s a problem of scale and probably wrong. But it wasn’t a weekend project. The tree was 70 feet tall if it was an inch, and at least 30-40 inches in girth in the main trunk. It was NOT a small tree. It took awhile to bring it down. In pieces.

Uncle Cliff was a sailor. Well, he’d been a Marine in the war, but, being of Nova Scotian stock, and from the lobstering coast of Massachusetts, he… He was a sailor. OK? He knew stuff about rigging and line handling and all that. The Colonel was a tad behind in that, but picked up the elements of marlinspike seamanship very quickly, and soon was able to throw a long splice into a mainbrace with the best of them.

I was nine or ten at the time, big for my age, and was pressed into service, hanging onto flylines and cleaning up felled branches, hanging onto one end of a two-man saw (for dear life) — that kind of stuff.

And they wanted me up in the tree. As the lightest adult or semi-adult there, I was the sensible candidate. They rigged a bosun’s chair, hung it on a half-inch 3-part tackle and swung me aloft.

I froze in terror. Every creak or sway of the branch I was rigged to, every swing of the rigging, every shift in my inner ear put me in fear of falling to my death. No amount of reassurances that I could trust the Colonel, who was on the hauling line, could comfort me. There was no getting any work out of me. Nor was I any better on a ladder. My lizard brain was taking all signals from my sense of balance and translating them into blind panic. I’d never liked heights, but this took the cake.

So they gave up on having me cut off limbs. The Colonel put on a pair of lineman’s spikes and clambered up the tree, one-man saw trailing on a line, and did off the various limbs of the tree’s top.

Fast forward to the next summer. We’d moved to a greener suburb. The house had three forty-to-fifty-foot silver maples in the back yard. The Colonel rigged up a three-quarter-inch four-part block-and-tackle to one of the trees and just left it hanging there. He stood a 40-foot extension ladder up against the next one over and left IT there. No comment. No instructions. Nothing. Just the naked temptation.

I’m not exactly G. Gordon Liddy, but I did have the notion that I had to face the fear, so I lashed up a bosun’s chair (a double bowline on a bight, if you’re interested), hooked it to the running block, and hauled away on the hauling part. And walked up the tree. And enjoyed the view. I snubbed the hauling line under my butt and just hung there, surveying the backyard landscape of the neighborhood.

Having fun.

The lesson? So long as I’m in control, I’m just fine. If there’s the slightest indication I might lose control, my lizard brain goes apeshit — if you’ll pardon the metaphor mixture. So the fear of flying thing — with somebody else in control — I totally get it. I also suspect I’d be just fine if I could pilot the plane.

Later on, I took on the ladder to similar success. Even got handy at going up the BACK side of it, and then flipping around to the front. Years later, when I joined the stage crew at Walnut Hills, that nimbleness on the ladder stood me in good stead running up the back wall of the stagehouse to the fly floor, 50 feet up.

*Now that I think on it more, that’s wrong. It was two trees. There was a locust tree in the verge and the bigger tree was just the other side of the public walk in the yard.

I Keep Forgetting to Do This

AT THE INDY BLOGMOOT where I first met Breda, there was also a guy there — turned out to be a neighbor of mine, after a fashion — goes by the handle Mad Saint Jack, who calls himself Breda’s Number One Fanboi. Since about the first thing I said to Breda was, “You’re my hero,”
you might think I might want to contest that, but I’m just not that ambitious.

So I concede the title.

That was a few years ago, now. And this Spring, MSJ has hung out his very own shingle on the NterNet. Calls it the Black Sunday Society. Good on him.

It’s early days, yet, and — like all such ventures — the blog is a bit unformed. Give it time. I believe the lad has enough of the right insanity, energy, knowledge, and wit to pull it off. He should do just fine.

Not to self: add to blogroll.

An Afternoon Nap

A CONSUMMATION devoutly to be wish’d.

Earnest, Jane, and Elwood on the living room couch. “Watching” TV with me.

Having trouble with the boys’ names. The little tuxedo kitty has gone from Bandit in creche through Denis Alexisovitch — an anagram for Mr. Alyson Hannigan’s name — to Taz (for Tasmanian Devil) to now we’re not sure if it’s Earnest Hemmingweigh (What’s a hemmingweigh? Oh, right now, a little over two pounds.) or something else. The crosseyed lilac point Siamese mix has gone from… did he ever have a creche name? (oh, yes: Simon) … to Clarence (after the cross-eyed lion of the same name) to Elwood Blues to just el Wood (which Toni doesn’t like), and now maybe (not?) Ferdinand, after Disney’s bull of that name. (You’d have to see him puff his little chest out in that world-beater way to understand.)

One thing Toni and I are agreed on is that there will be none of this real name: P. Throckmorton Cadwalladar Cholomondolay*, nickname: Snookums.

Lady Jane Grey is still Jane.Or Janey.

*Pron: Chumley

Gotta Love It When

SARAH PALIN HANGS a trip wire up in front of the media and a little farther down the path a big, steaming pile of shit. And EVERY. TIME. They catch their foot on the trip wire and face plant in the shit. EVERY. FRAKKIN’.

Which shows what slow learners they are, and how stuck in the group think they are.

And, by the way, I disagree with Jennifer Rubin when she writes

Palin has never been criticized for lack of smarts when it came to cultivating an image and a career that frees her from the restraints and demands that encumber national politicians. She’s the ultimate self-made woman, with a career and identity unique to her. You can understand why it would be ludicrous to give that up and risk her place in the conservative movement for a race she doesn’t want to run and likely can’t win.

The “likely can’t win” part. Seems obvious to me that, if la Palin decided to run, she not only could win, she would.

After all, if Mitt Romney — Romneycare and all — is a syphlitic camel compared to the punch bowl turd that is Obama, how much more attractive is Sarah Palin?

And the fact that she’s doing it while poking a sharp stick in the eye of the country club blueblood Republicans can’t hurt at all.

Weiner Doesn’t

GET IT He keeps saying he’s taking full responsibility, but he isn’t going to resign.

I found myself shouting at the radio during the press auto da fé, “No you’re not! You’re doing your damnedest to DODGE it!”

But, of course, he didn’t hear me.

The Problem with


THE problem?

OK. One of the central problems with kittens is that they have no concept of the difference between objects and surfaces. And, as a consequence, they are always knocking the former off the latter without really intending to. This isn’t really clumsiness, but it will pass for it until the real stuff comes along.

Caturday Post

SORRY, NO PIX at the moment. Interactions with new kittens have mostly been in places cameras don’t work well, like the living room, and doing things it’s hard to get pictures of, like having one purring on your chest while you’re watching TV.

BUT… The kittens are in for their checkup and first news is they are gaining weight. Elwood is up to 2# 15 oz — a 3oz gain. Jane is up to 2# 15oz also — a 2oz gain. And Taz is up to 2″ 2oz — a 3oz gain. We were wondering about Taz. It’s so hard to judge without objective measurement (like a scale). But he IS gaining, and that is good.

They’ll be seeing the doctor later on today. Fingers crossed, but I’m betting they’ll be fine. At home, they’re all alert and kitten-bouncy, cold-nosed, and bright-eyed. Their coats are, well, fuzzy, ’cause they’re kittens, but they’re clean and shiny, all indicators of good health. I’m not worried.

Update: OK. I lied. Here’s a pic of Loki and Sky chaffering in the front doorway last weekend. The situation is more playful than this looks, although there was some kitty smack-talk exchanged during the bout.